At, High Court of Judicature at Calcutta
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE SOUMEN SEN
For the Appearing Parties: Jishnu Chowdhury, Dwidhiti Bhaduri, Sonal Shah, Kushagra Shah, Advocates.
The plaintiff has filed a suit for a declaration that the debit note dated 15th May 2013 for Rs. 26,73,850/- is bad in law and non est. The plaintiff has also claimed a sum of Rs.22,83,607/- as pleaded in paragraph 37 of the plaint. The plaintiff alleged that the plaintiff in terms of an agreement entered into between the parties at Kolkata had agreed to supply processed steel materials of Tata Steels Limited and other steel manufacturers to the defendant/petitioner. In paragraphs 2 and 3 of the plaint, it is stated that the defendant is a manufacturer of panels enclosure and for the purpose of manufacturing, the defendant required iron and steel materials for which the defendant approached the plaintiff at its registered office at Tata Centre, 43, Chowringhee Road, Kolkata-700 071 where the defendant agreed to a General Terms and Conditions of Supply which would govern all orders and supplies to be made to the defendant by the plaintiff. The plaintiff for the purpose of invoking jurisdiction of this court has referred to paragraphs 3, 27, 32, 34 and 35 of the plaint.
Mr. Jishnu Chowdhury, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the plaintiff submits that in deciding an application for rejection of the plaint, the statements made in the plaint are required to be taken as true and correct. Irrespective of the outcome of the suit at a final stage, at this stage, it is argued, the court shall take into consideration the averments made in the plaint. The plaintiff having averred that the contract is concluded within the jurisdiction of this court, it is good enough for this court to invoke Clause 12 of the Letters Patent and permit the plaintiff to institute the suit in this Court. Mr. Chowdhury also referred to some correspondence in the plaint to suggest that the parties were corresponding on the subject and as such it cannot be said that the plaintiff’s Head Office at Kolkata is not inextricably connected with the dispute.
The defendant has filed an application for rejection of the plaint. The defendant alleged that in terms of the purchase order, the goods were required to be delivered to the Bangalore office of the defendant. The contract is required to be performed at Bangalore. The learned counsel refers to some of the correspondence and purchase orders to demonstrate that no part of the cause of action has arisen within the jurisdiction.
The defendant has not prayed for revocation of leave under Clause 12 of the Letters Patent but for rejection of the plaint on the ground that no part of the cause of action has arisen within the jurisdiction. In order to assume jurisdiction, the court is required to take into consideration the averments made in the plaint. At this stage, the court cannot enter into any triable issue. The issue as to jurisdiction can also be raised as an issue at the trial since on the basis of oral and documentary evidence the plaintiff may establish that this Court still has the jurisdiction. Apart from the facts pleaded in paragraph 3 of the plaint, the correspondence exchanged by and between the parties would show that the complaint with regard to the supply was raised with the Kolkata office. At this stage, the court is not required to hold a mini trial and try to ascertain the correctness and/or falsity of the claim made in the plaint. Unless it ex facie appears that the jurisdiction of this court has been invoked mala fide the court would not dismiss the suit. On the basis of the pleading and more so having regard to paragraph 3 of the plaint, it cannot be said that this court has no jurisdiction to try and determine the suit.
Accordingly, the application for rejection of the plaint stands dismissed. However, the issue of jurisdiction is left open to be decided at the trial of the
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suit if such an issue is raised in the written statement. At this stage, learned counsel appearing on behalf of the defendants prays for extension of time to file written statement. The time to file written statement by the defendants is extended by eight weeks from date. There shall be a cross order for discovery of documents by the parties within two weeks thereafter and inspection forthwith.